How to Put Up Christmas Lights

The holidays truly begin when your home glitters with seasonal decorative lighting. This guide on how to put up Christmas lights offers tips to make the process safe and festive.

Christmas Lights 101

Outdoor Christmas decorations ramp up the excitement for everyone during the holiday season. By using the latest energy-efficient Christmas lighting, you can create a fun, festive atmosphere for your family without breaking the bank. Hanging multiple strings of bulb lights is one of the best and easiest ways to create visual impact. You can also dress trees with mini-lights or put a glowing gift box outside your front door. Your inner child will giggle with glee when you stand back and examine your outdoor Christmas decor. Light up the dark nights with colourful outdoor lights.

Setting a Theme

Before you untangle last year’s lights and head outside to set up this year’s display, choose a theme for your outdoor decor. This will help you to plan where you should hang your lights, plus, it’s an inspired way to welcome both guests and the holiday season. To help you get started, we’ve created four classic themes that you can use to bring the spirit of celebration to every part of your home.
 
If you’re nostalgic for an old-fashioned, classic holiday, then you’ll love our Family Heirloom collection, with its traditional and rich jewel tones. Our Merry and Bright collection is perfect if you like a more playful spin on the season, complete with penguins, snowmen, Santas and reindeers to delight all the little ones in your life. If modern, chic, different and distinct are words you’d use to describe your style, take a more contemporary route with our Glory Gold themed ornaments in luxurious gold, silver, black and champagne. And if cozying up by the fire sounds like the perfect way to spend your holidays, you can embrace your rustic side with our Winter Lodge collection, sure to lend a warm, cabin feeling to your home.
 
 

Bulb String Lights

Your first Christmas lighting decision is selecting the type of light. Your choices range from traditional C7 lights (two inches long) and C9 lights (three inches long), to the much smaller incandescent bulbs, to the newer LED lights. C7 and C9 lights are bright and long lasting. Incandescent lights come in many different shapes and sizes, and produce less heat than traditional Christmas lights. Christmas LED lights also come in many different shapes and sizes, produce no heat and are the most energy efficient option. When buying strings of lights, you can choose a single colour or a mix of colours. Clear icicle string lights create the illusion of a frozen castle. Net lights are ideal for draping over bushes and shrubs. Strings of clear mini-lights wound around tree trunks and branches produce a striking, wintry effect.

Rope Lights

Rope lights are bulbs sealed inside a clear plastic (PVC) tube. Rope lights are a durable form of lighting, and the flexible tubes adapt easily to any decor idea. LED rope lights are low voltage, cool to the touch and economical to operate. Clear rope lights are often used year round on decks and leisure areas, and as party lights in the summer. Rope lights come in long strands, and are generally easier to unwind, hang and store than bulb lights.

Speciality Lights

You can also find solar-powered outdoor Christmas lighting, such as hanging icicle lights, decorative stakes, spheres and orbs. Just be aware that limited daytime sun can result in limited night time lighting. Musical Christmas lights are also popular, blinking on and off to the tune of your favourite holiday songs. They can really enhance the festive atmosphere, but remember to respect your neighbours when it comes to audio volume, timing and length of play.  
 

Christmas Yard Ornaments

A carefully chosen selection of life-size seasonal objects is a great way to make a visual statement without having to decorate the entire house. Consider hanging a large lighted Christmas wreath or other decoration on your main entrance or garage door. Wreath hangers and adhesive-backed hangers will secure these properly. A single illuminated yard angel, reindeer, gift box or snowman will tell everyone you’re in the holiday mood (without running up your energy bill). In most cases, all you’ll need is an outdoor extension cord and access to an outdoor outlet.

Christmas Yard Scenes

Nothing stops holiday traffic like an animated Christmas display. Moving parts and blinking lights on a nativity scene or Santa’s sleigh are real attention-getters and sure to fascinate youngsters. Animated character sets are available, complete with figures, wiring and a timing controller. Be sure the animated pieces are installed securely on a level surface. You’ll want to budget the hours of operation to avoid excessive energy use. 
 

Tools & Materials:

Steps to Put Up Christmas Lights

  1. Get creative
    Your Christmas light show is a work of art, so sketch out your canvas before you begin. For best results, decide on a focal point for your overall design. Perhaps it’s your front entrance or a prominent architectural feature such as a bay window. Frame your space and use your lights to draw the eye to your chosen focal point. You can also decorate shrubs and trees depending on your budget and ability to scale heights.
     
  2. Take accurate measurements
    It’s best to measure the area you intend to decorate before you go shopping or start hanging your Christmas lights. That way you’ll know that you have enough strings for your design. Use a measuring tape at ground level to determine the width of your house. You may need a ladder to measure the height of porticos or columns and the size of second floor windows. It’ll be easier (and safer) if there is someone to hold the tape on the other end.
     
  3. Assemble and test your lights
    Once you have all your lights, connect the strings and test them. Any malfunctioning cords or bulbs are much easier to replace before they’re mounted. Climbing a ladder on a cold day and working with numb fingertips is no fun. Don’t hang a light string with a bulb that’s not working as gaps in your display could ruin the whole effect. Replace the entire string if necessary.
     
  4. Hang your lights
    Your strings of lights should be properly attached to your eavestroughs or roof shingles. Look for specially designed plastic cord clips that attach securely, can be spaced easily and allow you to make minor adjustments. You can also get specially made clips for positioning light strings on railings. Use adhesive-backed clips to attach hanging lights to surfaces around window and door frames, and for wrapping around columns. Avoid using nails and screws that can damage composite materials and splinter wood trim.
     
  5. Power up
    You’ll want to control your outdoor Christmas lights from inside your house. If you don’t have a separate outdoor outlet connected to an indoor switch, simply install an inexpensive, two-outlet socket in the socket of your front porch bulb. Your Christmas lights will turn on and off via the indoor switch. Another option is a temporary, outdoor outlet spike with remote control and timer. Simply plug your string lights into the outdoor outlet and flip on your indoor switch or remote.
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This article is intended as general information. Always be sure to read and follow the label(s)/instruction(s) that accompany your product(s). Walmart will not be responsible for any injury or damage caused by this activity.

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